Spend a few hours with a GenZ adult, anyone born between 1997 and 2005, and you quickly realize, this is a different being. A different way of thinking. Perhaps a subspecies of informally confident Millennials. If only Darwin could weigh in.
No, the GenZ adult is like no other you’ve previously encountered. From where and how they live, shop, date, bank, socialize and, yes, work is altogether different from previous generations. But its a segment of our population you need to contend with. They’re coming of age, entering the workforce, and represent the next large block of workers that employers, recruiters – all of us – need to understand and embrace.
Because they truly care about the world around them.
Whether they show it or not is another question. Hang on, your 22-year-old just ordered a few ready-made meals, and AmazonFresh is at the door.
GenZ on the whole, those born between 1997 and 2012, represents about 20 percent of the U.S. population, according to recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, with 71 percent of those ages 20 to 24 fully employed, or nearly 40 million workers. The next younger group of GenZers are quickly on their heels.
To complete our current demographic picture, Millennials, those born between 1981 and 1996, make up 22 percent of the total population; Generation X, 1965 to 1980,19 percent; Baby Boomers, 1946 to 1964, 21 percent; children 17 and under, 13 percent; and Seniors who have aged out of the workforce, 5 percent.
The good news is that, even though set back by the COVD-19 pandemic, GenZ is eager and willing to join the ranks of the 9-to-5, even if it might be more like 11-to-7. Flexibility is a hallmark of this on-demand, digitally savvy bunch. Here is a bit more fodder for companies and recruiters who seek to hire our youngest class of burgeoning professionals.
• While compensation is important to all workers, it is apparently less so to GenZ, a 2022 Deloitte survey shows. GenZ workers were evenly split between earning more doing a less exciting or boring job versus less money engaging in interesting or exciting work.
• Companies will need to demonstrate that they are good global stewards to attract GenZ workers. Actions are more important than lip service with this group, and seek companies committed to climate-friendly policies and sustainability, equity, inclusion and tolerance.
• The strengths of GenZ workers tend to include the use of digital tools and technology, creative thinking, design skills and flexible solutions. Employers will want to help them develop project management skills and analyzing data.
• Employers will want to lean on existing employees to mentor and develop younger talent with a clear and tangible focus on diversity and inclusion. Make sure women and workers of color are represented consistently and evenly across leadership.
• Create model employees that set the tone for your company, and initiate more apprenticeship and internship programs to mould young workers into the likeness you seek. Related, establish relationships with nearby universities and community colleges to establish a pipeline to feed internship, apprentice programs.
The important part of all of this is for companies to make a genuine, good-faith effort to be earnest community and corporate citizens. GenZ can see through hyperbole and will overlook your offering if they’re not “feeling it.” Win their hearts and minds, and their beliefs or quirkiness, however viewed, could pay dividends for decades to come.
Photo by fauxels